Coat of Arms display goes on tour

Jasper Martinez inspects the Coat of Arms display. – Photo: Jewel Levy

The Cayman Islands Coat of Arms, which is 60 years old this year, is on tour across Cayman’s three islands.

A display, which outlines the history of the Coat of Arms, is appearing in each district for a two-week period over the coming months. It has already spent two weeks in East End and will be featured in North Side from this week.

Visiting the display at the East End United Church Hall last week was Jasper Martinez, a Nicaragua national living and working in the district, who admired the Coat of Arms and another display featuring the Cayman National Song.

Reading the lyrics of the song, which begins, “O land of soft fresh breezes, of verdant trees so fair,” Mr. Martinez said it expresses the love of the people and the beauty of these islands.

“The song was well put together,” he said.

The display in East End opened Sept. 4. It is part of a traveling showcase to celebrate the 60th anniversary, curated by the Cayman Islands National Museum, and featuring the history and culture of the islands.

The exhibit includes special educational programming designed to encourage discussion, thought and learning about the Cayman Islands identity.

The display also serves as a preview of the museum’s upcoming exhibition on the Coat of Arms on Dec. 8.

East End resident Gwelda Conolly said she enjoyed visiting the exhibit.

“I knew a little about the Coat of Arms. I knew the stars represent the three islands; the pineapple was between us and Jamaica; and the lions was between us and England, and the rope was from Cayman,” said Ms. Conolly. “I looked at the pictures, the words of the National Song and admired the different things they had for children to do … it was very nice.”

Alphonso Wright, executive chairman of Celebrate Cayman, a group which was established by government to organize the 60th anniversary celebrations, said the display has been very beneficial to the residents of East End.

“So far, we had over 100 people that came out to see it, including the East End Primary School children,” said Mr. Wright. “The children asked a lot of questions and it was [encouraging] to see they were learning a lot from the display.

Mr. Wright thanked the United Church, the Museum and the people who came out to view the display.

Queen Elizabeth II conferred the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms on May 14, 1958, an event which represented “a seminal moment that started the chain of events that placed the Cayman Islands on the path to modernity,” Premier Alden McLaughlin noted in an open letter posted on the Celebrate Cayman website.

“The Coat of Arms is the Cayman Islands’ first internationally recognized symbol of identity. Its rich imagery tells the story of who we are, our history, our culture, our earliest industries, our constitutional relationship, and our faith,” he continued.

As part of the traveling displays, Celebrate Cayman also has partnered with Cayman Airways to celebrate the national airline’s 50th anniversary.

The display can been seen at the Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre in North Side from Wednesday, Sept. 26 to Monday, Oct. 8. After that, it moves to Cayman Brac, where it can be viewed at Heritage House from Oct. 12-19.

It will be displayed at National Trust House on Little Cayman on Oct. 20-27; in Bodden Town at a venue yet to be confirmed from Oct. 31 to Nov. 10; in George Town at a venue yet to be confirmed from Nov. 14 to 24; and in West Bay in a venue yet to be confirmed from Nov. 28 to Dec. 6.

For more information on the 60th anniversary celebrations and the Coat of Arms, visit www.celebratecayman.ky.